tariel22 (tariel22) wrote,

Smallville 8.17 - Hex

Hex was an interesting combination of pure fun and serious mythos, as a crazy magic spell made Chloe take a hard look at her life and her dreams, and come to a realization that I think holds great promise for the future of Smallville. We met a great new character, Zatanna, straight from the comics, were treated to some wonderful performances, welcomed back Lois and Oliver, and took a break from the gloom and doom that I'm sure is hurtling us toward a heartbreaking season finale. I loved it!

Chloe has pretty much had the year from hell this season. She was imprisoned for months, was possessed by Brainiac, had her memory wiped, had her wedding crashed by a monster, lost her husband, gained a stalker, and was almost killed several times over. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Add to that a birthday party where everyone you care about either doesn't show up or bails partway through, and I don't blame a girl for feeling a little down. I don't think Chloe's fleeting wish for Lois's life was jealousy so much as it was wistfulness for the path she left behind, the path she was on the last time her life was truly happy. All the burdens of the present made the past look very inviting, but Chloe soon realized that life at the DP didn't hold the appeal she once thought it did. A lot of Chloe's time in Lois's body was played very effectively for laughs, but the more important message was that while Lois's life may be perfect for her, Chloe now yearns for something completely different. And although I know many people saw that as an inexplicable change, it made a lot of sense to me.

Chloe has been a reporter since day one on this show. In fact, as we saw in Progeny, she has been one pretty much forever. And reporting for her has always been equal parts writing and investigating. What we've always seen on the show is her passion for finding the truth. But now the biggest truths in her life are ones she can never disclose, so I don't wonder that some of the thrill has gone out of reporting for her. All through S7, we almost never saw Chloe working on a story. All her time at the DP seemed to be spent working on something for Clark, or researching her meteor power. And then the Justice League found its way into the mix. Chloe's special skill set of brainstorming, problem solving, and computer hacking seemed tailor made to help superheroes keep the world safe, and I've rarely seen her more excited than she was in Siren, after her little adventure with Oliver. So to see Chloe embrace the role of Watchtower as the next phase in her life not only made me cheer, it seemed like a logical next step for her.

I think Chloe has been kind of adrift for a while now. What she was doing at Isis was a noble effort, but as Chloe herself said, she wasn't really qualified for the job, and I don't think it has been all that fulfilling for her. Clark seems to need her less as a sidekick, as he becomes increasingly more independent and confident, and more as a friend. She needs something more, something that will challenge her. For a moment she thought that was reporting again, but as she saw firsthand what that life had to offer her, and contrasted it with the way she was able to inspire Clark to rediscover his inner hero, I think she realized she had a higher calling, one that was about something much more than helping just one man. And so the spell was broken. Chloe as Watchtower has limitless potential, especially for S9, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Chloe in Lois's body was a riot. I laughed all the way through this episode, thanks to the scenes between Chloe and Clark. Erica Durance did a great job of capturing Chloe. Her expressions, mannerisms, and speech inflections were very evocative of Allison Mack's Chloe, and there was a world of difference between the real Lois and the hexed one. I applaud her efforts in a very demanding role. And how completely awesome was Tom Welling? The man is just too funny! He has an amazing gift for comedy, and I wish we could see that side of him more often. The way Clark struck a heroic pose and manfully called 911 was hilarious, and the whole scene on the roof of the DP made me laugh so hard I could barely breathe. Everything about hexed Clark just screamed mild-mannered reporter, right down to his body language. He was adorable! I especially loved the incredulous way he asked Chloe if she had locked the door to the roof, and the way he threw up his hands to defend himself when she came toward him holding the pipe. hee! TW and ED were pure gold together, from start to finish.

What a contrast we saw when Clark's spell was broken, and he made that glorious leap to stop Zatanna. He was a true hero then, and it touched my heart to hear him speak about Jonathan so passionately, and to share his pain to bring Zatanna back from the brink. I also liked the other side of Clark we saw earlier in the episode, when he was full of snark, showing us the tempestuous side of Lois and Clark's working relationship. I guess there's no question that our boy truly has grown up. Last week he tried to get Tess drunk, and this week he looked directly at Lois's breasts and commented on them! :) Clark's side of that initial conversation in the DP showed us how close he and Lois have become. It's clear they talk often, and about subjects well beyond the scope of their jobs. And he immediately knew that something wasn't quite right with her. These two are tight.

Of course so much with Clark is inferred on my part. I've seen countless signs since the beginning of the season that Clark has feelings for Lois that go far beyond friendship, but it's all a matter of interpretation. Clark still hasn't uttered a single definitive word on the subject. I know that others watch and see nothing but simple friendship in his eyes, or ambivalence, or even regret that he will inevitably hurt Lois because he doesn't feel that way about her, and never will. I know what my fangirl heart believes, but who am I to say anyone who thinks differently is wrong? I understand why the show has hit the brakes so hard: we have an entire season of UST ahead of us now. I look forward to the flirty, snarky fun! And it even makes sense to me, given what happened with Lana. As I've said before, Clark needs time to process, and to heal. But the ambiguity continues to fan the flames of the shipper wars, and I hate to see this fandom torn apart.

I was so happy to see Lois find her inner strength and resilience after Infamous! She was having a blast at Chloe's party, not sitting in a corner pining for Clark. You go, girl, that's exactly the quality that captivates him, IMO. And I adored the way she teased him in their one scene together, reveling in the knowledge that he had saved and framed her rules. :) And how cute was Clark, with the big sigh of resignation and the self-conscious look around the bullpen before he handed them over? *draws hearts around them* I also liked that Lois made no secret of the fact that she was going on a date. I'm glad to see her moving on, even though it's obvious she's carrying a massive torch. Maybe next season will be Clark's turn to chase her. I'd love to see that!

Chloe's scenes bookended this episode, and Allison Mack positively sparkled in them. Chloe looked beautiful at her party, and my heart went out to her. Of course we all want our birthday to be special, and when it's not, it makes you feel like you're not special either. I would have been bummed, too. And Chloe's reappearance as herself at the end of the episode reminded me anew of what AM brings to this role: a life and vibrancy that jump off the screen, and a talent that is nothing short of magical. I think Chloe's Watchtower is going to rock!

I'm always happy to see Oliver join the party, but he still troubles me. Clearly murdering Lex haunts him, as it should, but I don't know where the show is going with that. I adore Oliver, and I think he makes a fascinating counterpoint to Clark in the hero game, but is he still a good guy? I hope so. And BTW, I don't count the way he talked to Chloe at her party among his sins. He doesn't see Chloe as someone to protect and indulge, he sees her as a colleague, a strong and valuable member of his team, and I like that. The way he ruthlessly manipulated her in Requiem? Not so much. :(

Zatanna was fun. She wasn't malicious, just driven to relieve the pain of her loss, and she was sympathetic to Chloe, wanting only to make her birthday wish come true. In the end she did the right thing, and I'd love to see her come back as a Justice League ally someday. Serinda Swan was beautiful and visually perfect for the part, and a good actress as well. Another example of fabulous casting by this show. It's always been their greatest strength.

Random thoughts: I thought Clark's gift to Chloe was especially thoughtful, a sweet reminder of their long and meaningful history together. What was with those flower barrettes? I haven't seen Chloe wear anything like those in years. I like Oliver's new office at LuthorCorp, especially the ginormous Queen family crest. Overcompensating much, Ollie? ;) There's something about a guy in a dress shirt with his top button unbuttoned, and his tie slightly loosened, that is all kinds of sexy. I don't care what anyone says, that was flying! I loved Lois's squeaky chair callback to Clark in Odyssey. And Tom is very, very pretty. :)

Hex was a great episode, and far from filler. I honestly think it was meant it to put the Chlois theory to rest once and for all, especially with Chloe's assertion that "after spending a day at the Daily Planet, I realized that's someone else's life," and Clark's statement that "there's only one Lois Lane." And while I don't think Clark ever really wanted to give up the superhero half of his life, the results of his passing wish to have nothing more complicated to worry about than his next deadline did serve to remind him that he is on the right path. It was nice to hear Clark articulate that, and reaffirm that this is the life he wants, especially when it seems certain he will face his greatest challenge ever in the episodes ahead. I appreciate his resolve, because I fear a reluctant hero would be ill-equipped to battle Doomsday.

Cross-posted at Starkville House of El Podcast.

Remember how I said Tom is pretty? I thought you might enjoy a few visual aids. :) My top ten caps from Hex:

Did you notice how neat and tidy Clark's shirt and tie are in the cap above? Hexed Clark buttoned that top button and tightened up his tie. There's nothing casual about this reporter! :) What a great little detail. I have to wonder if that was Tom's idea.

Screen caps courtesy of Home of the Nutty, with my thanks!
Tags: picspam, smallville, sv episode review, tom welling
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